سورة يوسف   

Surah Name: Yousuf-AS Meaning: Joseph

  • Revealed at Makkah
  • • Surah Yousuf-AS is a Makkan Surah. It is one of those historical facts, which the Quran has revealed for the guidance of mankind. The incident this Surah describes is the only one revealed in a single go. Selected segments of other historical events have been quoted where needed in order to illustrate the character of various people and the consequences drawn thereupon. Since the main aim of the Quran is character-building and not merely recounting history, the historical events have also been referred to in the same context. It has also been clarified that knowledge of these events is not required merely for its own sake. Rather, they should be remembered as well as conveyed to others so as to warn people for their reformation. With this aim, recording of history becomes a preferred art. The style should be the same as that of Surah Yousuf-AS. It should neither be so lengthy as to exhaust the reader, nor so short as to mar comprehension. This Surah was revealed when the Jews demanded of the Holy Prophet-SW to answer them as to why the Ban! Israil had shifted from Syria to Egypt, and what the story of Prophet Yousuf-AS was. These answers were given in the Torah also, but the Holy Prophet-SW had never attended any school nor had listened to any rabbi. It was intended to be a test for him-SW. But Allah-SWT , the Most Gracious, revealed the entire event to His-SWT Beloved Prophet-SW, unveiling even those facts that were not mentioned in the Torah. It contains history, admonition, counselling, and describes the results borne on actions. Above all, it endorsed the Prophethood of the Holy Prophet-SW in a miraculous manner.
  • Total Number of Rukū / Sections 12
  • Total Number of Āyāt / Parts 111
  • Sūrah / Chapter number 12
  • Rukū / Section 3 contains Āyāt / Parts 9
  • Siparah/ Volume 12 & 13


وَقَالَ الَّذِي اشْتَرَاهُ مِن مِّصْرَ لاِمْرَأَتِهِ أَكْرِمِي مَثْوَاهُ عَسَى أَن يَنفَعَنَا أَوْ نَتَّخِذَهُ وَلَدًا وَكَذَلِكَ مَكَّنِّا لِيُوسُفَ فِي الأَرْضِ وَلِنُعَلِّمَهُ مِن تَأْوِيلِ الأَحَادِيثِ وَاللّهُ غَالِبٌ عَلَى أَمْرِهِ وَلَـكِنَّ أَكْثَرَ النَّاسِ لاَ يَعْلَمُونَ 

Waqala allathee ishtarahu min misra li(i)mraatihi akrimee mathwahu AAasa an yanfaAAana aw nattakhithahu waladan wakathalika makkanna liyoosufa fee alardi walinuAAallimahu min taweeli alahadeethi wa(A)llahu ghalibun AAala amrihi walakinna akthara a(l)nnasi la yaAAlamoon(a)

And he who bought him in Egypt said to his wife: make his lodging goodly; perchance he may profit us or we may take him as a son. And thus We-SWT made a place for Yusuf-AS in the land, and it was in order that We-SWT may instruct him in the interpretation of events. And Allaah-SWT is Dominant in His-SWT Purpose, but most of men know not.


وَلَمَّا بَلَغَ أَشُدَّهُ آتَيْنَاهُ حُكْمًا وَعِلْمًا وَكَذَلِكَ نَجْزِي الْمُحْسِنِينَ 

Walamma balagha ashuddahu ataynahu hukman waAAilman wakathalika najzee almuhsineen(a)

And when he reached his maturity, We-SWT endowed him with judgement and knowledge; and thus We-SWT reward the well-doers.


وَرَاوَدَتْهُ الَّتِي هُوَ فِي بَيْتِهَا عَن نَّفْسِهِ وَغَلَّقَتِ الأَبْوَابَ وَقَالَتْ هَيْتَ لَكَ قَالَ مَعَاذَ اللّهِ إِنَّهُ رَبِّي أَحْسَنَ مَثْوَايَ إِنَّهُ لاَ يُفْلِحُ الظَّالِمُونَ 

Warawadathu allatee huwa fee baytiha AAan nafsihi waghallaqati alabwaba waqalat hayta laka qala maAAatha Allahi innahu rabbee ahsana mathwaya innahu la yuflihu a(l)ththalimoon(a)

And she in whose house he was, solicited him and she closed the doors and said: come on, O’ you! He said: Allaah-SWT be my refuge: verily he is my master, he has made me a good dwelling, verily the wrong-doers do not prosper.


وَلَقَدْ هَمَّتْ بِهِ وَهَمَّ بِهَا لَوْلا أَن رَّأَى بُرْهَانَ رَبِّهِ كَذَلِكَ لِنَصْرِفَ عَنْهُ السُّوءَ وَالْفَحْشَاء إِنَّهُ مِنْ عِبَادِنَا الْمُخْلَصِينَ 

Walaqad hammat bihi wahamma biha lawla an raa burhana rabbihi kathalika linasrifa AAanhu a(l)ssooa wa(a)lfahshaa innahu min AAibadina almukhlaseen(a)

And assuredly she besought him, and he would have besought her were it not that he had seen the evidence of his Rabb-SWT . Thus We-SWT did, in order that We-SWT might avert from him all evil and indecency; verily he was a single-hearted bondman of Ours-SWT .


وَاسُتَبَقَا الْبَابَ وَقَدَّتْ قَمِيصَهُ مِن دُبُرٍ وَأَلْفَيَا سَيِّدَهَا لَدَى الْبَابِ قَالَتْ مَا جَزَاء مَنْ أَرَادَ بِأَهْلِكَ سُوَءًا إِلاَّ أَن يُسْجَنَ أَوْ عَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌ 

Wa(i)stabaqa albaba waqaddat qameesahu min duburin waalfaya sayyidaha ladaalbabi qalat ma jazao man arada biahlika sooan illa an yusjana aw AAathabun aleem(un)

And the two raced to the door, and she rent his shirt from behind. And the two met her master at the door. She said: what is the requital for him who intended evil towards your household except that he be imprisoned, or an afflictive chastisement?


قَالَ هِيَ رَاوَدَتْنِي عَن نَّفْسِي وَشَهِدَ شَاهِدٌ مِّنْ أَهْلِهَا إِن كَانَ قَمِيصُهُ قُدَّ مِن قُبُلٍ فَصَدَقَتْ وَهُوَ مِنَ الكَاذِبِينَ 

Qala hiya rawadatnee AAan nafsee washahida shahidun min ahliha in kana qameesuhu qudda min qubulin fasadaqat wahuwa mina alkathibeen(a)

He said: it is she who solicited me. And a witness from her own household bore witness: if his shirt is rent in front, she speaks truth and he is a liar.


وَإِنْ كَانَ قَمِيصُهُ قُدَّ مِن دُبُرٍ فَكَذَبَتْ وَهُوَ مِن الصَّادِقِينَ 

Wain kana qameesuhu qudda min duburin fakathabat wahuwa mina a(l)ssadiqeen(a)

But if his shirt is rent from behind, she lies and he is a true-teller.


فَلَمَّا رَأَى قَمِيصَهُ قُدَّ مِن دُبُرٍ قَالَ إِنَّهُ مِن كَيْدِكُنَّ إِنَّ كَيْدَكُنَّ عَظِيمٌ 

Falamma raa qameesahu qudda min duburin qala innahu min kaydikunna inna kaydakunna AAatheem(un)

So when he saw his shirt rent from behind, he said: verily it is the guile of you women; the guile of you women is mighty.


يُوسُفُ أَعْرِضْ عَنْ هَـذَا وَاسْتَغْفِرِي لِذَنبِكِ إِنَّكِ كُنتِ مِنَ الْخَاطِئِينَ 

Yoosufu aAArid AAan hatha wa(i)staghfiree lithanbiki innaki kunti mina alkhatieen(a)

Yusuf-AS! Turn away therefrom; and you woman! Ask forgiveness for your sin; verily you have been guilty.


In The Name of Allah-SWT the Most Gracious, The Most Merciful

The caravan arrived in Egypt and made special preparations for selling their valuable merchandise. The news also reached the Royal Palace that a slave was available for sale, whose beauty outshined the sun. It was customary for the caravans to advertise their merchandise soon after arriving and stationing in a city to attract maximum customers. In the auction eventually a Government Minister named Qatfir won the deal and purchased the boy for an equal weight of gold, musk and silk. Commentators assert that he was a Minister in the King's Cabinet, and the king was Ariyan bin Usaid, of the 'Amalqah race. However, it was the former who ran the affairs of the State. The King finally pledged allegiance to Prophet Yusuf-AS embraced Islam and died during his lifetime.


Qatfir was very happy with his deal and took the boy home. He told his wife not to treat him as an ordinary slave but to bring him up in such a manner that he could fulfill their future plans. He said that the radiant face of the boy had brought them good luck, so they could adopt him as their son who would be their heir. This couple was issueless. Qatfir's wife was Zulaikhah, the most beautiful lady in Egypt. She brought him up with extreme care and love.


According to Hadhrat Ibne Mas'ud-RAU three persons excelled in speculating. Firstly, the Minister who correctly recognized the merit of Prophet Yusuf-AS. Secondly, the daughter of Prophet Sho'aib-AS who formed the right opinion about Prophet Musa-AS and lastly Hadhrat Abu Bakr Siddiq-RAU who selected Hadhrat Umar-RAU as his successor.


The Pious, Particularly Sufis, Can Manage State Affairs Far Better

Allah-SWT blessed Prophet Yusuf-AS with power and authority. He-SWT bestowed upon him Prophethood and the knowledge of interpreting events and running the affairs of the State, so that he may ensure justice in the land and enforce Allah-SWT's Law upon His-SWT creation. The interpretation of events includes Revelation and the knowledge of interpreting dream as well as the skills of managing the affairs of the State with wisdom and justice. The common notion that the pious and saintly cannot run the affairs of a Stale is negated here. Rather they can manage them in a better way. The reason is that they are not blinded by power but take their decisions holding Allah-SWT in awe.


A helpless boy sold as a slave entered the Royal Palace to become the future ruler by Allah-SWT s Power, as foretold by Him-SWT . He-SWT is Dominant in His-SWT Purpose, and can do anything, whenever and wherever He-SWT Pleases. Unfortunately, people are blinded by and get entangled in the cobwebs of visible causes and disregard the Omnipotence of their Creator. However, it is very strange that despite the prophesy Prophet Yusuf-AS had to remain imprisoned for many years before he was exonerated by an enquiry in the Royal Court. The king later entrusted him with the State responsibilities, eventually pledged allegiance to him and embraced Islam. Thus he gained access to the rule of Egypt. The point to note here is that even if the final outcome of an event is known through Kashf it is not necessary that it will take place right away without any hindrance. Rather every event takes place at a time predestined by Allaah-SWT .


Knowledge from His-SWT Presence

Now the doors of blessings were flung wide open. When Yusuf-AS grew up among comforts, he was blessed with Prophethood and the knowledge of this world and Din. This is called Knowledge from His-SWT Presence (‘Ilm Luduni) imparted purely by Allah-SWT's Blessing without any formal instructor. Whereas the conventional source of gaining knowledge is through education and learning. The Prophets-AS do not receive knowledge from any human being but directly from Allah-SWT . Some accomplished souls are also blessed with such knowledge because of their adherence to the Prophets-AS. The hallmark of their excellence is that in comparison to conventional scholars they are far better in analysis and insight. Moreover, along with knowledge of Din they are also well versed in worldly matters and the ways of running a State.


When was he blessed with Prophethood? There are varying accounts. Some scholars assert that it took place at the age of thirty while others assume it was at thirty-three or forty years. However, the Quran only mentions that he was blessed at the prime of his age. And those who seek Allah-SWT with sincerity and obey Him-SWT with good intentions are blessed with the knowledge of the outward and the inward as well as with honour, affluence and power.


Ihsan leads to Spiritual Knowledge as well as Worldly Power

Prophethood is something that is conferred. Allah-SWT has chosen His-SWT Messenger-AS's from eternity. Also alongwith Wilayah and spiritual knowledge, power and rule can be bestowed as a Divine Reward. However, the powers given to the wrongdoers are an affliction both for the ruler as well as the ruled, because Allah-SWT imposes evil rulers upon wicked people as a punishment.


Zulaikhah Strayed

Prophet Yusuf-AS‘s splendid youth complemented with the dazzling light of Prophethood made Zulaikhah restless. Unmindful of her age and status, she was blinded by her fancies. Prophet Yusuf-AS was not only her slave but also young enough to be her son. Yet she forgot everything, and overpowered by her lust to have him, she tried her level best to seduce him to sin.


The Commentators state that she would speak lovingly to him praising his beauty and expressing her love. One day she fully decorated her bedroom and told him to embrace her, for it was for him that she had adorned herself. She had already locked the doors, which are said to have been seven in number. Prophet Yusuf-AS said: "I seek refuge in Allah-SWT . How can this be possible? Your husband has been so generous to me and has brought me up as a child with such care and respect. Should I return his favours by dishonouring him? Moreover Allah-SWT has blessed me with Prophethood and knowledge of the limits imposed by Him-SWT . According to them, adultery is a grave transgression and indeed there is no salvation for the indulgent.”


Zulaikhah’s Intentions and Yusuf-AS Prophetic Character

Allah-SWT confirms that Zulaikhah had firmly resolved to have him and he too would have inclined had he not been observing the 'Evidence of Allah-SWT .’ According to Hadhrat ibn 'Abbas-RAU this evidence refers to the Prophethood, which is the protective shield of a Prophet-AS against error, and is a Divine Reward. Humma Biha (he could have desired her) means that he could have*become naturally tempted as he was also human. This involuntary inclination is a part of human nature. The mere inclination, however, would not have been a sin, as it is the difference between a human being and an angel. An angel does not get inclined to sin but a human being does. However, the latter perseveres and abstains from it in obedience to Allah-SWT . But in case of Prophet Yusuf-AS he did not even show any interest in her, for he was Allah-SWT's Prophet-AS and the preceding Ayat have revealed his raising as a Prophet-AS.


Secondly, Allah-SWT declares that He-SWT protected him against sin and lewdness, which includes all possibilities of sin, even the very intention to indulge in it. Hence Allah-SWT saved him from any indulgence into sin or any such immoral act whereby he could have even spoken to her amorously or touched her.


Rather, Allah-SWT says that He-SWT removed sin and lewdness far away from him. In other words, he was placed at a high level of chastity far beyond the access of evil thoughts. Thirdly, Allah-SWT says that he was amongst His-SWT sincere and devoted servants, and the Satan has confessed his inability to allure such devotees. The fourth evidence to his innocence is that when Prophet Aadam-AS‘s slip has been mentioned in the Quran, his repentance is also described. And when Prophet Yunus-AS‘s error of judgement is mentioned it is also followed by his repentance and Allah-SWT's Forgiveness. So had there been even the slightest of mistake committed here, it would have certainly been followed by Prophet Yusuf-AS’s  repentance and his turning to Him-AS. Instead, he is being declared as a chosen and true servant who was protected from all shades of sin.


It is inconceivable why the scholars have even discussed this possibility and have been classifying varying degrees of Hamm. I feel that such discussion is totally uncalled for. Error in a personal opinion or judgement is a separate issue but it is impossible to ascribe the mere thought of an abominable act, like adultery to a Prophet-AS .And then the very first sentence he uttered was: "I seek refuge in Allah-SWT ", which shows that he could not bear to even hear her words. When he realized that Zulaikhah blinded by her passion was heedless of his advice and counselling and insisted on sin, he ran to the doors which were seven in number and had been locked. But each one of them flung open by Allah-SWT's Will as he approached them.



Commentators have discussed Burhan-e-Rabb (Evidence of Rabb-SWT ) differently. Some assert that Prophet Yusuf-AS had seen his father, while others say that he had seen some inscriptions etc. All this is possible, but the real cause behind his supreme self-control was Prophetic chastity. And it was his unwavering trust in Allah-SWT that he lied from the scene without paying any heed to the fact that the doors were locked. This indeed is Tawakkul whereby a person, regardless of the outcome and heedless of means, undertakes a task with whatever is within his power. Having done it he leaves the results to Allah-SWT . He was closely chased by Zulaikhah and she did get hold of his shirt from behind, yet he did not stop. As a result the shirt was torn. As the both of them crossed the exit door they found themselves standing in front of Zulaikhah’s husband.


Zulaikhah's Disposition

She at once changed her stance and said that a person like him should be condemned to the gaols, for he had attempted to molest her, the wife of his benefactor, under his own roof. It proves that she never actually loved Prophet Yusuf-AS but was only driven by her lust. The brothers of Prophet Yusuf-AS had once planned to kill him, then dumped him into the well and finally sold him off, but one of the main reasons for their malice was the love for their father. Although the means they had employed to secure his affection were sinful, yet their love for a Prophet-AS finally led to their salvation. They were not only granted the capacity to repent but were also saved from committing murder, and were eventually forgiven and pardoned. Had Zulaikhah loved Prophet Yusuf-AS she would never have been deprived, but all she wanted was the satisfaction of her desires. As soon as she was caught red handed, she placed the entire blame on him. This is certainly not the way beloveds are treated. That is why, the scholars assert, Zulaikhah could neither have him nor become his wife. The lady who married Prophet Yusuf-AS was Asnath. A Prophet-AS's wife can be a non believer but can never indulge in an immoral act.


To Prove own Integrity is the Sunnah of Prophets-AS

Prophet Yusuf-AS pleaded his innocence and strongly refuted her charge by giving true account of the incident. He said that it was she who had tried to entice him while he was running away from her. Miraculously, an infant lying in a cradle, probably of some maid or a family member, was granted the capacity to speak by Allah-SWT . Had the baby only pronounced her guilty, it would have sufficed, but he spoke rather wisely: "O Minister! Examine the shirt. If it is torn from the front he is guilty; otherwise she is to be blamed, for she tried to get hold of him as he ran away."


Certainly Allah-SWT never lets down those who fear Him-SWT , and upholds their honour. He-SWT made Prophet ‘Isa-AS speak in his cradle for the exoneration of his mother Hadhrat Maryam-AS. Or when a Wali, Hadhrat Jareeh-RUA of Bani Israil was accused, a newborn vindicated him. At yet another occasion, a baby girl named Mashtah stopped the Pharaoh from killing Prophet Musa-AS. And here an infant miraculously proclaimed the innocence of Prophet Yusuf-AS. According to Tafsir-e-Mazhari, the infants spoke miraculously on four different occasions, but when the Holy Prophet-SW's beloved wife Hadhrat 'Ayeshah Siddiqah-RAU was falsely indicted, Allah-SWT did not assign the task to any infant but Himself-SWT pronounced her exoneration. A series of Ayat were revealed in Surah al Noor for this purpose.


So the honourable Minister examined the shirt and found it rent apart from behind. Although the miraculous speech of the infant could have sufficed, yet in a testimony, circumstantial evidence has a special importance and a unique influence. He impeached Zulaikhah saying that her artifice and craftiness had been proved. Verily when a woman resorts to cunningness, she can go to great limits. Allah-SWT has classified the guile of Satan to be weaker, whereas here the guile of a woman has been pronounced as mighty indeed. However, not every woman, but only the crafty one can work such wonders. The Minister requested Prophet Yusuf-AS to forgive his wife for he feared the disgrace that could stain his family once the news became public. He also felt very sorry for the grief caused to Prophet Yusuf-AS. He addressed his wife and said: O’ Zulaikhah! You have indeed committed a blatant error for which you must apologize unconditionally. It is your moral obligation to ask forgiveness from me as well as from Prophet Yusuf-AS whom you have caused much grief."